Our EmTech Law Blog provides timely legal and business information on issues impacting companies developing or investing in new technologies, new companies, and new ideas.

Alert: Recent Developments in Artificial Intelligence Governance

As the development of artificial intelligence systems accelerates globally and the benefits and risks of their use become evident, calls for government regulation in the U.S. and abroad have accelerated. In this Alert, Attorneys Susanna Bagdasarova, Mary Binker, Christian Farmakis and Justine Kasznica discuss two significant governmental developments that occurred in the past month to respond to these calls.

Emerging Tech Law Series: Section 201 Gag Clause Prohibition Compliance Attestation

December 31, 2023 is the deadline for submission of the inaugural Section 201 Gag Clause Prohibition Compliance Attestation to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury.

The federal government passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act in 2020 (CAA) with the goal of improving price and quality transparency in healthcare. Specifically, Section 201 of the CAA prohibits employers/plan sponsors from entering into contractual arrangements that contain “gag clauses.”

To ensure compliance, Section 201 requires that plans submit an annual attestation that the plan did not enter any agreements that contain gag clauses.

Emerging Tech Law Series: Updates on Data Privacy

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania’s Breach of Personal Information Notification Act (BPINA), underwent its first major update since it was signed into law in June 2006. The Amended BPINA went into effect on May 2, 2023.

Ember Holmes details how the Amended BPINA affects all Pennsylvania entities that store information belonging to Pennsylvania residents, but has the most significant impact on state agencies and entities that contract with state agencies.

Emerging Tech Law Podcast: Cybersecurity Updates and the Energy Industry

On this episode, Babst Calland Attorneys Nicholas Faas, Ember Holmes and Audra Hutter discuss the different kinds of cybersecurity threats facing companies.

All the key topics include:

  • Ransomware – a kind of malware that targets sensitive information, encrypts the information so it cannot be accessed, then demands a ransom in exchange for decryption.

Legal and Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities for the Tech Industry with Justine Kasznica

Attorney Justine Kasznica would be the first to admit that she moved to Pittsburgh to take a chance on an apparent regional business renaissance driven by a promising technology sector. Over time, the region hasn’t disappointed.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this region and to be an attorney working with emerging technologies,” said Kasznica, who quickly would find her way into the center of Pittsburgh’s technology universe and help drive significant industry growth as part of a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem here.

Emerging Tech Law Podcast Series: Keystone Space Collaborative Conference

In this episode of the Babst Calland Emerging Tech Law Podcast Series, Justine M. Kasznica, Esq., Shareholder and Chair, Emerging Technologies Group, details the inaugural 2022 Keystone Space Collaborative Conference that kicks off April 20th with the theme “Building Bridges; Breaking Barriers.”

The Keystone Space Collaborative represents the Tri-State region’s (PA, OH, WV) space industry and community and values making space more accessible for all who want to learn and understand what commercial space represents for the nation and humankind.

Alert: Biden Administration, CISA, FBI, and NSA Respond to Cybersecurity Threats to Critical Infrastructure Posed by Russia

On March 21, 2022, President Biden issued a statement in response to evolving intelligence that Russia is exploring options for malicious cyberattacks against the United States. The statement highlights the measures taken by the Administration to strengthen cyber defenses within the federal government and, to the extent that it has authority, within critical infrastructure sectors. Additionally, President Biden called on private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators to accelerate and enhance their cybersecurity measures, urging them to take advantage of public-private partnerships and initiatives, including those administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Emerging Tech Law Podcast: Artificial Intelligence Powers Due Diligence (featuring Dane Fennel and Chris Farmakis)

This episode of the Babst Calland Emerging Tech Podcast features Dane Fennell and Chris Farmakis discussing how the firm uses artificial intelligence (AI) for due diligence.

Learn about some of the typical types of projects into which law firms can implement AI applications and how AI can reduce risk and human error on critical projects. Plus, discover the benefits on the client side of AI and due diligence when it comes to budget certainty and faster results.

Small Businesses Need to Be Wary of Cyber Attacks (Opinion)

Small-business owners have many roles to fill–from managing payrolls and marketing to customer service. But one area many small-business owners fail to plan for is their company’s cybersecurity.

According to a recent Small Business Administration survey, 88% of small-business owners feel their business was vulnerable to a cyberattack. Experts warn that small businesses, including those in West Virginia, are under constant attack by cybercriminals, be it from local, national or global actors.

Emerging Tech Law Podcast Series: Cybersecurity in the Energy Industry

On this episode of the Emerging Tech Podcast Series, we talk to Justine Kasznica and Ashleigh Krick of Babst Calland’s Emerging Technologies Group about the latest cybersecurity threats centered on the energy industry.

Get more insights on the recent high-profile cyber-attacks, including Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods and the aftermath of those. This discussion will reference Congressional and TSA action on pipeline cybersecurity. We will also talk about what steps businesses can be taking to address cybersecurity.

NHTSA Opens Investigation into Tesla Crashes Involving Autopilot

On August 13, 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defect Investigations (ODI) opened a Preliminary Evaluation (PE21-020) into crashes with in-road or roadside first responders involving Tesla vehicles where Autopilot was confirmed to have been engaged during the approach to the crash.  NHTSA cites to 11 crashes involving emergency vehicles that involved 17 total injuries and 1 fatality.  The earliest cited crash is the January 22, 2018, crash in Culver City, California, where a Tesla Model S rear-ended a firetruck parked along a California freeway.

Emerging Tech Law Podcast: Investment Trends in Energy

In this episode of the Emerging Tech Podcast Series, Justine Kasznica and Ashleigh Krick of Babst Calland’s Emerging Technologies Group talk to Jonathan Kersting of the Pittsburgh Technology Council about the latest investment trend in energy as reported from the 2021 Babst Calland Energy Report.

They discuss how public government funding is driving investment in emerging energy technologies like energy storage and hydrogen.

Alert: Biden Administration Sets Target of 50% EV Sales Share by 2030 and Announces New Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Regulations

On August 5, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks (Executive Order).  The White House signing event included American automakers Ford, GM, and Stellantis, as well as the United Auto Workers (UAW), demonstrating support for the president’s Build Back Better agenda and investment in U.S. leadership in electric vehicles and batteries, manufacturing, and jobs.  In conjunction with the signing of this Executive Order, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced coordinated notices of proposed rulemaking that are intended to roll back the previous administration’s emissions and fuel economy regulations.

Force majeure: Why these contract provisions are drawing new scrutiny

“With the pandemic, our clients suddenly cared a lot about whether their contracts included a force majeure provision, what it said, what it meant and how it could be interpreted,” says Attorney Kate Cooper, shareholder at Babst Calland.

Kate Cooper spoke with Smart Business about force majeure provisions and how approaches to them are changing.

Read more.

Emerging Tech Law Podcast – Investment Trends in Energy

On this episode of the Pittsburgh Technology Council Emerging Tech Podcast Series, Babst Calland’s Justine Kasznica and Ashleigh Krick, Esq.

talk about the latest investment trend in energy as reported from the 2021 Babst Calland Energy Report. They discuss how public, government funding is driving investment in emerging energy technologies like energy storage and hydrogen. The will also detail how VC and private equity investments are at a record high and what’s driving the growth.